POPLAR BLUFF, Mo., April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Commerce has approved exclusions from Section 232 tariffs for Mid Continent Steel & Wire, the nation's largest nail manufacturer. The exclusions, which were officially published online on Tuesday, cover close to nine-tenths of the volume of imported steel that Mid Continent uses.
Mid Continent, maker of Magnum Nails, applied for the exclusions, or exemptions from the 25% tariffs, on June 18, shortly after Section 232 duties were extended to cover Canada and Mexico, a major source of raw material for the nail manufacturer. In its requests, Mid Continent showed that U.S. steelmakers could not provide the volume of raw material that the manufacturer required.
"This is a great day for our workers, our customers, for Southeast Missouri, and for U.S. manufacturing," said Chris Pratt, operations general manager of Mid Continent. "We knew from the start that we qualified for the exclusions. Now, we can focus on making Magnum, the best nails in the world, here in Poplar Bluff, Missouri."
Pratt added, "We have been making nails all through the nine and a half months it took for our requests to be granted. We can now methodically ramp up production levels, moving toward the growth path we were on before the tariffs went into effect."
In full-page ad to be published Friday in the local Poplar Bluff newspaper, Mid Continent thanks public officials for their support. The company extended its gratitude to President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; to Missouri's two U.S. Senators, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley; as well as to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, and State Sen. Doug Libla.
The tariffs had a damaging effect on Mid Continent's business – in large part because the company's foreign competitors could make nails abroad and export them to the U.S., free of the Section 232 duties. Mid Continent's manufacturing workforce fell from more than 500 to less than 300.
Mid Continent presented strong evidence that it qualified for exclusions; nevertheless, exemptions from Section 232 tariffs are rarely approved. In a letter to Ross, Rep Jackie Walorski noted that the two largest steelmakers prevailed in more than 95% of the cases in which they filed objections to exclusion requests.
"We never gave up hope," said Pratt, "and neither did our fantastic employees and the great people of Southeast Missouri. Now, let's make nails!"
SOURCE Mid Continent Steel & Wire, Inc.